N.C. State, not Alabama or Ohio State or Texas, will have the most former quarterbacks starting in the NFL on Sunday.
The Wolfpack will have three starters with rookie Mike Glennon’s ascension to the top of the depth chart for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday.
N.C. State hasn’t won a conference title in 34 years and has only one double-digit win season in its history, but the program has a knack for producing NFL quarterbacks.
Glennon, a third-round pick this past April, joins Philip Rivers (San Diego) and Russell Wilson (Seattle), who have started the first three games for their respective teams. All three started at least two seasons at N.C. State and graduated from the school.
It’s the most starters in one NFL season from one college program since Southern California had four in 2009. Michigan and Florida State both have two starters this season.
“It’s an exciting time for me, something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, something I’ve worked ever since I was a little kid, and all throughout high school and college has prepared me for this moment,” Glennon told reporters Wednesday.
Tampa Bay made the move on Wednesday after an 0-3 start. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Glennon, who threw for 4,031 yards and 31 touchdowns in college last season, gives the team the best chance to win.
“We’ve lost eight of nine games and we haven’t played particularly well on offense in the last nine games,” Schiano said during his news conference Wednesday. “Although it’s not completely the quarterback’s fault, that position touches the ball every play. ... Mike’s our starting quarterback from this point forward. We’re moving forward and Mike’s our quarterback. That’s the plan and that’s how we’re going.”
Wilson and Glennon started for former N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien, now an assistant at Virginia. O’Brien was thrilled for Glennon to get the opportunity.
O’Brien said the credit for developing the pair of N.C. State starters and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who played for O’Brien at Boston College, goes to former offensive coordinator Dana Bible.
“Mike has worked very hard to be in that position,” O’Brien said Wednesday. “It’s going to be fun to watch his growth, just like it’s fun to watch Russell and Matty.”
Glennon also mentioned Bible Wednesday.
“I have five years of an NFL-like offense under my belt,” Glennon said. “It’s not the same terminology, but as an 18-year-old, I was running NFL concepts.”
Glennon replaced Wilson as the Wolfpack’s starter in 2011, then Wilson finished his college career at Wisconsin. Wilson, a third-round pick of Seattle in 2012, led the Seahawks to the playoffs last season and a 3-0 start to this season.
Rivers, 31, rewrote the ACC and school record books from 2000 to ’03, leading the Wolfpack to a school-record 11 wins in 2002. He is in his 10th season with the Chargers.
Glennon was the third quarterback taken in the draft in April; he went 73rd overall to the Bucs. He’s the only quarterback in school history to throw for more than 30 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.
Glennon did so in 2012 without a healthy offensive line or a consistent running game, which is part of the reason why O’Brien feels like he will have success with the Bucs, who are coming off of a 23-3 loss at New England.
“Sometimes last season he was running for his life and we were down to our fourth running back,” O’Brien said. “Really, everything was on his shoulders.”
Glennon replaces Josh Freeman, the Bucs’ starter since 2009, who has struggled through the first three games. Tampa Bay hosts the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.
If Glennon remains the Bucs’ starter, circle Nov. 3 on the calendar. That’s when Tampa Bay travels to Seattle, where Glennon and Wilson would face off against each other.
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